How to be happy

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Hello again outernet. A couple days ago I had somebody ask me the following question, “How are you always happy? Every time I see you, you’re happy.” After hearing this I started reverse engineering what makes my happiness work the way it does. I thought long and hard about it and realized that this desire of happiness is worldwide. It is the one thing that everybody commonly wants. I came up with a few bullet points that I feel very strongly about. I am sure I could write an entire book on this but I’ll reduce it down to a blog post for now. Here are my personal ingredients for happiness.

Indulge.
We have a finite time here on earth so why not fill it with the goodness that puts a smile on your face. There is a dessert that is beyond my favorite. They are called honey biscuits. You take croissant dough and encase a marshmallow inside of it. When the ball is rolled up, you then coat it in melted butter in a separate dish or bowl. From there you will completely cover it with brown sugar and cinnamon that will come from a separate bowl. You then use pam to grease the a muffin pan and place a honey biscuit in each empty pod. Bake at 350 until it the dough has raised and looks browned and a bit crispy. Take it out and let it sit for 10 minutes or so. Then enjoy. They are the most delightful treats I have ever had the experience of eating. I plan to eat these once every few months for the rest of my life. Are they good for my body? No. Do they make my taste buds happy beyond all human understanding? Yes. I also indulge in playing Black Ops 2 and Alan Wake in some of my free time. I am a master prestiger now in black ops 2. That means nothing to those who don’t play the game but it makes me happy for the time I am playing it. Life is filled with these small things that completely shower us with a good feeling. I have countless other things that make me happy but that would take forever to fully describe.

Let go.
People love holding onto memories of the past. Especially the bad memories for some reason. It’s as if we enjoy picking at our old scabs just to watch the blood flow out to prove you’re still alive. Your past doesn’t exist anymore. It was was a reality but now time has forgotten about it. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t tell me what made you happy last Sunday but I’m sure you can remember the last time somebody made you cry in perfect clarity. Why do we hold onto things that hurt us? In my life time I have experienced heart ache just like everybody else has. Sure there are different levels of heart ache but that doesn’t change the fact that everybody is fighting their own battles just like you. Since your time is finite, why tarnish it with something negative that happened a long time ago? Afraid it will happen again? Stop thinking about it because the more you think about it, the stronger it becomes in your mind. Fear is a prison, the only way out is to accept that it happened and move on. Don’t sweep it under the rug. This is a common mistake that we make. We try so hard not to think about the things that make us unhappy but we just can’t help it. So what do we do? We pretend its not there. This is the equivalent to ignoring a black widow making a nest of babies in your bedroom. Keep ignoring this and watch what happens. The way we resolve past issues is we examine it in our hands. And once we have accepted it and learned from it, only then will we be able to place it into the trash. Problems we don’t fix or confront don’t simply fade away, they lay dormant. The proper way to dispose of your bad past is to confront it. Only then will you truly be able to let go of what is holding down your smile.

Another side to letting go is not letting things bother you. When somebody cuts you off in traffic, it already happened and you can no longer make that reality into fiction. Eventually you stop trying to change everything and you just enjoy the ride. Trying to stop the sun from rising will only result in disappointment. Instead, just realize that there is no stopping this so you might as well change how you see it.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
-William Arthur Ward

Someday when people are on the verge of retiring they figure this lesson out. If you can figure this out in your childhood, teen years, or in your 20’s your life will be much more rich. Have you ever noticed that the people with the most traditions are the ones that hate change the most. The harder it is for you to adapt to change, the easier it will be to break you down.

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
-Bruce Lee

Have a passion/hobby.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t have a hobby. Work and school consumes them because it is whats expected of them. They want a good paying job and to be accepted by traditional thinkers. The problem with workaholics is they rarely have a hobby that lets them completely escape inside of it. They usually have this mentality that says “I work hard now so that I can be well off 35 years from now.” I have a news flash for you. If you spend your life only trying to secure your future bank account, by the time you retire you won’t know how to enjoy what you have. I have lost count of all the older folks I have met that don’t have a hobby. If you have something you can build on, you’ll look in the mirror with more self worth. The further you take your hobby, the more likely you can make a lot of money from it thus not having to work for anybody else.

Do you know how many unemployed college graduates I have met? They are trying to find their place and they don’t know where they want to go because all their life they were told to go to school because it will get you a good income. What they didn’t tell you is that the more prestigious your school is, the more in debt you’ll be in the future. This means you now HAVE to make a lot of money if you want to pay of your student loans before you die. What they never told you when you were a kid was this, if you become an expert at your hobby people will pay you to learn how you do it. A job made from a hobby is a minority in the work field. Almost nobody does it which means its more rare, which means you can get paid more. Money seems to always follow scarcity. Hobbies will set you free and keep you building something. A carpenter on a planet with no wood would surely lose his mind. That’s what people without hobbies are. Carpenters on planet Iron.

See beauty in the mundane.
If you can find beauty in the smallest things, then everything will seem wonderful. Imagine a glass of water for example. Nothing impressive there right? Now imagine this, that water is comet and asteroid juice. Our planet started as star dust. A star exploded thus giving our stagnant stardust motion. From there the dust started to clump together turning into small rocks. Those rocks came together. The bigger rocks started attracting other rocks due to it’s gravitational pull. Pretty soon the domino effect started attracting other rocks towards us like magnets. As the gravity of earth became stronger it started pulling down the higher mountains of rocks. Throughout millions of years slowly but surely the planet started to take its round shape. At this stage the planet was raging with oceans of lava. This created an outer crust while pulling all the iron down into the core of the earth. The spinning ball of iron at our core created the poles. This created a force field shielding the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

From here, planet “Theia” smashed into Earth sending scattered debris thousands of miles in the air. These pieces eventually turned into 2 moons that revolved around earth. These two moons also smashed into each other to make the moon we know today. It has revolved around us every since. At this time of early solar system development, the sky was littered with rogue comets and asteroids trying to find their place. Comets would smash into the earth everyday bringing water from the outskirts of our solar system. Water wasn’t grown on earth, it came from outer space. Being that Earth was the perfect distance from the sun for sustaining life all it needed was water at this point. Water is a primary prerequisite for life. The rest is history. When Earth had Pangaea, the rest of the world was water. Earthquakes and tectonic shifting split us up into the continents we know today. Our crust moves because of our lava and iron core and constant pressure from the gravitational pull. Long story short, the water in your glass traveled billions of miles to get here. It has been on earth before your great great great grandparents were even thought of yet. Every single object on earth and in your bedroom has a story. The story goes deeper than our deepest ocean. When you see all things in this way it is impossible no to appreciate it and the journey it took to be in front of you.

Work hard, play harder.
For every hour you work, plan an hour and 23 minutes to play. Go to amusement parks, go on road trips, watch movies, play games, read books, play tag, play pranks. “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” I make sure to play as much as I can. I have a move collection of around 700-800. I love collecting movies and drawing inspiration from them and the way they were made. If you were to make 100 preschoolers do homework and make another 100 play with legos and board games, who do you think would develop quicker? Take a wild guess. Our imagination is priceless. One must guard it as if you were guarding your head in a car accident. You work 8 hours a day? How much time do you have to play? If you have forgotten what play is, don’t worry there’s still time! GO NOW!

Have a routine.
Have something that you can look forward to weekly. Having something to look forward to keeps you on target and gives you purpose to go to sleep and wake up in the morning. I see my girlfriend Holly everyday and one of our routines is watching TV shows on netflix. We love it and we get a bit sad when the series ends. But then we move onto others. This is why I love card magic. It is INFINITE. There will always be a move that hasn’t been thought of yet or a move that can be improved upon. It is impossible to know every card effect and every card control. You’ll never reach the end. A good routine doesn’t have an end. Have you ever worked a 40 hour a week job for a long time and then quit? You seem a bit without direction. You start becoming restless and you find it hard to stand still. A routine keeps the engine running and keeps you working towards something.

Do what you love, no matter what.
I love learning and teaching card technique. I love watching funny shows. I love driving in my car. I love singing when I’m by myself. I love beatboxing. I love eating. I love making film. I love hanging out with my girlfriend Holly and making new inside jokes with her. I love floating in a sensory deprivation tank. I love playing guitar. If you can’t name 10 things you love then something needs to change. This is an extremely important step to being happy.

Stop comparing yourself to others.
Especially with facebook in our lives we can’t help but compare our lives to others. We’ve done this since we were kids. This is not new to us. Start comparing yourself to the last year version of you. There will always be somebody with more money, more luck, more objects, more perceived happiness, and more things you wish you had. This is daunting and pointless to try and keep up with your neighbors. It only keeps you chasing after something you’ll never have. Being better than everybody. It will never happen. We always compare ourselves to skinnier, more toned, and more financially successful people. But did you ever stop to think that they are trying to be better than others too? I see this comparing all throughout the magic community. Nowadays the top names in magic are seen as gods that one must follow and emulate. Why are you following people who don’t know where they’re going? They feed off of your idolizing.

Imagine if the top names in the magic community woke up tomorrow with no followers on twitter and no more friends on facebook. They would have a meltdown and look elsewhere for approval. Eventually your approval acts as a drug for them and they end up NEEDING to be idolized. This is why I have purposely stayed below the radar in the magic community and refuse to call any of you “fans”. I feel that if I started calling you fans, I’d slowly start seeing you as a cup of coffee in the morning to help ease the caffeine absence I acquired over night rather than the individual awesome people you are. Yes, I have my own website but I am by no means on the level of popularity that any of the other sites are. It is not my goal to be better than the rest. It is not my goal to come out with more products. It is not my goal to make more money than all of them.

All I want to do is share new things with you that I feel that are worth knowing if you love magic, card handling, and the beyond as much as I do. I have never entered in a magic competition or tryout because that’s not what its about for me. I have to simply do what I feel is right and relevant. I’ve noticed that most magic websites follow a template of operations. As long as the need for money outweighs the need for genuinely personal and communal growth, the magic community will remain a giant pissing contest where no progress will be achieved. Hopefully I can start a change in the community with blogs such as the one you’re reading right now. Only time will tell. Until then, I will continue trying to bring new things to this art because of how much I love it.

Laugh.
I saw this image on facebook the other day and I couldn’t stop laughing while I was reading it. Click it to make it bigger.
I read an article that said “Laughter may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore have found that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels by causing the inner lining to expand, increasing blood flow.” When you think about people laughing really hard, its easy to start laughing at it. Laughter is extremely contagious and other than Patrick Bateman’s case, laughter has never caused harm.

Laughing at small things will keep your mood optimistic thus seeing more things as positive occurrences. When you’re angry, you are more likely to make others angry because you don’t want to be around happy people when you’re angry. Anger is a false sense of control. We use it when we feel that we are not in control of a situation. If you realize that control is relative, you tend to not care as much about things you cannot change. IF one were to be upset about the sun setting, that person would die sooner because negative attracts more negative and although stress is interpreted and is not real, it can eventually kill you. Laugh at your problems because its all you can do usually. Laugh at everything. Find a funny joke within everything in life. It makes the time go by easier and happier. Have you ever noticed that the people that laugh more are usually happier people? On the opposite side of the coin, I’m sure you can think of somebody right now that you rarely see laugh. Chances are, they are not very happy people. They will say that they are not laughing because they are not happy. But could it be that they are not happy because they not laughing?

Hate nothing.
Every time you use the word “hate” your happiness gets a little dimmer. A teaspoon of hate can ruin a 10 gallon batch of love. Stop saying hate. That word is a poison to you and to the people who hear it. Hate is a such a strong emotion that brings negative. Hate is a tidal wave to a sandcastle. You are most definitely allowed to not like or to not prefer something. That is perfectly fine but hate is when slopes get slippery. All hate leads to more hate that eventually gets passed down to our children and peers. Have you ever hung out with somebody who hates every movie and hates whoever is the president and who hates the weather…its an emotional drag to even be in the same room as those people. Its very hard to stay optimistic when somebody so pessimistic is unknowingly influencing you.

Erase lines in the sand.
The more separated we think we are from one another, the more lonely we will feel. Humans are pack animals that do better in groups. We develop quicker with human to human stimuli. Imagine a Jew, a Mormon, a Christian, a Catholic, and a Muslim eating together at a restaurant. How would you imagine that conversation? There wouldn’t be much to say considering they are all on different teams. Each one speaks of acceptance but only when you put these people in the same room do you see their true colors of team mentalities. It eventually always comes down to an “us vs them” mentality. As long as there is a perceived enemy, you can find no peace. Instead see everybody as part of you. We all came from the stars. We all live. We all die. We all love. We all want to be happy. We all want whats best for our families. When you have lines in the sand that separate us its hard to see our similarities. We’re all the same and if the world saw it that way then it would no longer be a “Guilty until proven innocent” predisposition whenever seeing a stranger on the street. Have you ever noticed that the people who are publicly the most untrusted are usually the most untrustworthy. Want to make somebody trustworthy? Then try trusting them more. You’d be surprised how much your trust means to them. They wouldn’t want to let you down. By letting you down and giving you reason not to trust them, this diminished the value of the person they see in the mirror everyday. Nobody wants to think less of themselves.

These are just a FEW of my strategies and principles that I live by. Hopefully one of these ideas opens up a new door for you. Take what applies and leave behind what doesn’t. Thank you for your time. And now I must play a bit of Black Ops 2.

Smile Defiantly.

persist&endure,
Chris